Six local athletes played 2020 college baseball

Western Illinois University (NCAA Division I) • Westphalia, IA • 2017 Harlan Community graduate
2020 Season - Sears, a Physical Education major at WIU, started eight games for the Leathernecks before the season was cancelled. The 5-foot-11, 185-pound middle infielder was hitting .250 (6-for-24), highlighted by a three-hit game at Butler on February 22, and had an on-base percentage of .357. Sears had one triple among his six hits, scored three runs, drove in a pair and was 3-for-3 on stolen base attempts. Defensively, he helped turn five double plays. Following a head coaching change in the off-season, Western Illinois started the season 0-13 overall, including six losses vs. SEC opponents Tennessee and Missouri.
2019 Season - Sears played in 34 games last year (29 starts) as the team went 22-31 overall and 16-14 in the Summit League. He batted .205 and drew 23 walks at the plate, stealing four bases and scoring 14 runs. He committed only four errors and had a fielding percentage of .967.
2018 Season - Sears played in 45 out of 48 games as a freshman (41 starts), playing mostly at second base as the Leathernecks finished 17-31 overall and 14-12 in conference play. He batted .217 with 30 total hits and nine RBI and had an excellent fielding percentage of .986 with just two errors.
Harlan Community Career - Sears was a five-year varsity starter for the Cyclones, playing in five state tournaments including the 3A state championship team of 2016. A three-time all-stater (first team as a junior and senior; Iowa Elite All-State as a senior), Sears finished his prep career as the school’s all-time leader in stolen bases (137) and triples (18) while also totaling 202 runs, 183 hits, 98 RBI, 115 walks and 31 times hit-by-pitch. One of the state’s top defensive shortstops in any class, Sears saved his best offensive season for last when he hit .438 as a senior (.558 OBP) with 58 runs scored, 30 RBI, 45-of-46 stolen bases and 14 extra-base hits. His junior campaign included a school-record seven triples and just five strikeouts in 118 at-bats while hitting .407.

Western Illinois University (NCAA Division I) • Westphalia, IA • 2019 Harlan Community graduate
2020 Season - Sears, a 6-foot-1, 185-pound right-handed pitcher, made his collegiate debut in relief on February 23 at Butler, then started two games before the season was cancelled. A short sample size of 7.1 innings saw him post an 0-1 record and 12.27 earned run average. He allowed 13 hits and 10 runs, walked six batters and notched six strikeouts. Sears is a Nursing major.
Harlan Community Career - Sears broke Danny Schiltz’s school record for pitching wins, finishing his five-year varsity career with a 36-5 record. He played in 12 state tourney games and four championship games between 2015-2018, highlighted by the Cyclones’ 2016 state title. Sears was named second-team All-State as a sophomore and first-team All-State as a junior - both times as a pitcher - before being named first-team All-State as an infielder in 2019.
 After going a combined 16-1 on the mound as a freshman and sophomore, Sears was 10-1 with a 1.42 ERA his junior year, striking out 112 batters against just 16 walks in 59.1 innings. He went 8-2 with a 1.17 ERA his senior year, this time striking out 78 and walking 13 in 54 innings. At the plate, Sears batted .374, .363 and .454, respectively, his final three years. He established career-bests with five homers, 12 doubles and three triples as a junior and 27 walks, 20 stolen bases, 46 RBI and 41 runs as a senior.

Iowa Central Community College (Fort Dodge) • Harlan, IA • 2018 Harlan Community graduate
2020 Season - After playing one year at Southwestern Community College in Creston, Doran was off to a great start for the Iowa Central baseball team this spring. The Tritons, coached by Portsmouth native and former HCHS standout Eric Stein, were 9-2-1 and ranked 18th nationally when the season was cut short by COVID-19 in mid-March. Doran, a 6-foot-3, 230-pound first baseman and outfielder, batted .444 in 11 games and 36 at-bats, highlighted by a two-HR, four-RBI game against his former SWCC team on March 11. Doran finished with a .944 slugging percentage, totaling four homers, four doubles, one triple, 11 walks, 14 RBI and 13 runs scored. He plans to continue his baseball career next year at the NCAA Division I level, playing for Omaha.
2019 Season at Southwestern CC - Doran played in 34 games for the Spartans last year, batting .278 (25/90) with two home runs, five doubles and 22 RBI. He also drew 10 walks, stole six bases and scored 11 runs.
Harlan Community Career - Doran batted .442 as a junior (3rd team All-State) and .457 as a senior (1st team All-State) on back-to-back 3A state runner-up teams at HCHS. During those two seasons, Doran combined to hit 14 home runs and 32 doubles while scoring 80 runs and driving in 85 (50 as a junior). He slugged an impressive .904 his senior year with an on-base percentage of .580, striking out just five times while drawing 23 walks and 10 hit-by-pitch.

Benedictine University Mesa (NAIA) • Elk Horn, IA • 2015 Exira-EHK graduate
2020 Season - Primarily a relief pitcher during his college career at Benedictine Mesa and North Iowa Area Community College, Jacobsen made seven starts among his eight appearances this spring, going 4-1 with a 2.75 ERA as the 25th-ranked Redhawks went 22-7 overall and 7-1 in the California Pacific Conference through March 9. In 39.1 innings, the 5-foot-11 right-handed hurler allowed 34 hits and 12 earned runs, striking out 32 and walking just six while also hitting five batters. Opponents batted just .230 against him.
 During his two seasons in Arizona, Jacobsen finished 7-1 with two saves and a 2.44 ERA on the mound. He sported an outstanding strikeout-to-walk ratio of 49-to-9 as the team combined to go 66-20.
2019 Season - Jacobsen made 11 relief appearances as a junior, going 3-0 with two saves and a 1.69 ERA. He allowed 14 hits in 16 innings, walked three and struck out 17. The Redhawks finished 44-13 overall.
NIACC Career - In two years at North Iowa Area Community College out of Mason City, Jacobsen pitched 71.2 innings (36 appearances, 2 starts), striking out 51 and walking 10. He was 4-1 with one save as a freshman in 2016, followed by a 5-1 record with one save in 2017.
Exira-EHK Career - Jacobsen put together an incredible four-year pitching career for the Spartans, going 33-4 with three separate 9-0 seasons on the mound. He finished his career with 434 strikeouts compared to just 30 walks, a ratio of 14.5-to-1. Jacobsen’s earned run average never topped 1.06, including a 0.24 ERA as a junior and 0.49 as a senior, and his WHIP (walks and hits allowed per inning) ranged from 0.39 to 0.87. At the plate, Jacobsen had his best year as a senior, batting .523 with 32 RBI and never striking out in 86 at-bats. He was named third team All-State as a junior and second team All-State as a senior.

Buena Vista University (NCAA Division III) • Manilla, IA • 2019 Harlan Community graduate
2020 Season - Schaben, a 5-foot-8, 165-pound infielder, did not travel with the team on its opening road trip of the season to Topeka, KS. The Beavers started 5-2 before the season was cancelled.
Harlan Community Career - Schaben hit over .400 for much of his junior year before finishing with batting average of .394, then hit .384 as a senior. During his two years as a full-time varsity starter, he totaled 81 hits, 21 doubles, two triples and a home run with 70 runs scored, 74 RBI and 19 stolen bases.

Southwestern Community College (Creston) • Elk Horn, IA • 2017 Exira-EHK graduate
2020 Season - Three years following his last high school season, Amaral made three starts and five total pitching appearances for SWCC this spring, going 1-1 with a 4.40 ERA. He pitched five innings in the Spartans’ 18-7 win over Ellsworth Community College on March 8, striking out six and walking one. In 14.1 total innings, Amaral allowed 17 hits and seven earned runs, walked eight and struck out 14.
 Amaral attended Iowa Western Community College in 2017-2018 before entering the work force. After working out with former Spartan teammate Tyler Jacobsen last summer, Amaral decided to return to baseball and found a new home at SWCC.
Exira-EHK Career - Amaral played five seasons on the varsity for Exira-EHK and emerged as one of the Spartans’ top pitchers in 2016 and 2017. As a junior, Amaral was 5-3 with a 1.65 ERA, allowing 29 hits in 42.1 innings, walking 13 and striking out 60. As a senior, he went 5-1 with a 0.98 ERA in 35.2 innings, allowing 18 hits, walking 15 and striking out 59. Amaral’s best year at the plate came in 2017 when he hit .407 with six doubles, 29 runs and 23 RBI.

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